Mekong Delta, Vietnam, Day 2 – 5 Jan

The Mekong Delta – Day 2

The floating market

The second morning of our Mekong trip, we had an even earlier wakeup call. We were headed for the area’s floating market, which gets started before the roosters (and there are A LOT of roosters around here!). We met our boat at 6:15am and had our floating market tour before there was even time for breakfast.

Fruit vendor in the floating market

The floating market turned out to be really interesting. It was quite different from the one we’d visited in Cambodia, even though that was a village of Vietnamese immigrants.
In Cambodia, the market was on a huge lake (Lake Ton Le Sap) so the vendors were pretty spread out. In this case, they were all kind of clustered in a few different areas, and each one had a large poll displaying whatever they were selling. There was an incredible mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and more.

You just pull your boat up to make your purchase

This boat was selling all kinds of vegetables, as evidenced by their pole.

The vendors' boats often double as their homes (you can see the laundry hung out to dry here). It is incredible to think of a life spent on these waterways.

Our boat tour provided a lot of interesting perspectives of life in the Mekong Delta. Overall, I was left with an overwhelming sense of the important role the waterways play in the every day lives of the people who live there. Personal boats or ferries are the main mode of transport and the waterways act like streets do in our developed areas. Shopping, socializing and other daily errands all take place via boat. Here are some more scenes of life on the water:

A rare footbridge over the water

Women in Vietnam are seriously hard core.

They do pretty much everything...where are all the men???

Seriously.

Oh, here are a couple...lounging.

Early morning dance performance

Again, we encountered another adorable girl with a dog. We passed her boat once and waved and when we came by again, she – and the dog – had a show ready for us.
After landing on solid ground again, we visited a regular fresh market, where we ate breakfast (yay!) and wandered around amongst the locals and the goods.

Town square near the market

Coffee stand with delicious caphe sua da

It was a great market for caphe sua, banh mi (as you can see in Suhail’s video here) and window shopping.

Vendor with fresh produce just outside the market structure

There is an extremely wide variety of rice in Vietnam. Each is preferred for a different type of preparation.

I think this vendor was a bit flustered when we asked to take her photo, but she was kind enough to allow it.

Dessert vendor - Vietnamese desserts are quite different from those in the US! Believe it or not, I did not try any of these.

Yes, they really do wear conical hats in Vietnam...

After visiting the market, we headed back to the house, where our host led us on an excursion to her vegetable garden. She grows a lot of what her family eats, so it was a formidable garden.
It was also the first place I’ve ever seen a fresh mung bean, which is really not a very attractive food! (Definitely tastes better than it looks.)
Once we’d picked some beans, there was just enough time for lunch and then a hasty departure back to Ho Chi Minh City.

The dark beans are ready for harvesting

Our host shows me how to harvest ripe mung beans (notice our fellow tourists are again mysteriously absent from this activity...)

Our visit to the Mekong Delta was a great experience and we were thrilled we chose this particular tour. There was no way we could have navigated our way through the area this efficiently and enjoyably in only two days, and we will never forget our guide, hosts or fellow tourists.

Saying goodbye to our host (on her porch). And in this photo, it looks like the recurring SE Asian wish that I will become pregnant has taken effect!

Watch Suhail’s video recap here: